Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, March 16, 2014 | 9:15 p.m.
On the day the season officially ended, many offseason wheels are already in motion for UNLV basketball.
First, Rebels coach Dave Rice made official today the long expected news that junior shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones will not return to the team.
“I met with Bryce and his family earlier today. It was decided that he will not be on our team next year,” Rice said. “He is on schedule to graduate this summer so he will remain on scholarship and we will support him academically. During this process he will explore his professional opportunities.”
Dejean-Jones was the team’s leading scorer this season, but made less than 30 percent on 3-pointers and caused some headaches away from the court. Dejean-Jones was suspended after UNLV’s late-season home game against San Diego State and then could be heard yelling at teammates following the season-ending loss to the Aztecs on Friday night.
While Dejean-Jones isn't considered an NBA prospect, he could try to carve out a pro career with workouts or a trip overseas. Dejean-Jones also could take a grad-transfer year and play in college somewhere else next season, like Mike Moser did for Oregon this year.
On the coaching front, lead assistant Heath Schroyer interviewed over the weekend for the top job at UT-Martin. He’s considered the lead candidate for the Skyhawks, who in January hired former UNLV administrator Julio Freire as their athletic director. Freire ran the Rebel Athletic Fund under former AD Jim Livengood and was one of four athletics department staffers to have his salary cut under a reorganization last summer.
Rice also said he plans to add a position to the coaching staff. Other schools have recently employed a special assistant to the head coach, which is how Rice would use the newly-created spot.
He wouldn’t discuss candidates because the position has not yet been posted, but some believe former UNLV interim coach Max Good will be a leading candidate.
Good joined UNLV’s staff in 1999, and during the 2000-01 season, he took over when Bill Bayno was removed mid-season. After that Good led Bryant University for seven seasons and then joined Bayno’s staff at Loyola Marymount, where he again replaced Bayno, this time a few games into the 2008-09 season. Good's contract wasn't renewed last week after a 77-117 record.
The Rebels will conduct their usual individual end-of-season meetings March 24 after players return from spring break. There will likely be some other moves in and out of the program as Rice looks to bounce back from his first season without a postseason trip.
“It’s great to be at a program where a 20-win season is not automatically embraced,” Rice said. “Pressure is privilege.”